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Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

Colorado
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Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

I'm trying to determine the best town/village to use as a base for five nights in the Upper Engadine and five nights in the Lower Engadine; the more research I do, the more confused I get.

I'm looking for peace and quiet, charm and relative convenience to train/bus transport; I'm not interested in St Mortiz and I'm unsure about Pontresina, which I've read is busy and charmless (?)

This is not a ski trip - we hope to do some winter hiking, take the Bernina Pass train and just generally explore the area. Our strategy is to visit the Upper Engadine first, (early December) before ski season gets fully underway. I realize this means gondola and ski lift closures and limited operating hours of those that are open, but we're good with that. We're traveling by train, so I'm leaning towards a town on a train line as it seems bus service that time of year is infrequent.

I've found a possible apartment rental in Sils Maria, but I have concerns as the bus from St Moritz to Sils Maria only runs every two hours. (Anyone happen to know the walking distance?)

Opinions and insights appreciated.

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1. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

The bus from Sils-Maria to St. Moritz runs twice an hour.

Colorado
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2. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

The owner of the apartment we're considering told us it runs once every two hours that time of year (pre-ski season). I've been unable to find the exact info online, can you point me to a website with bus schedules?

Edited: 08 August 2013, 07:39
St. Moritz...
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3. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

You will find "peace and quiet" almost everywhere early December. And also your information about "busy and charmless" Pontresina is completely wrong. Pontresina is a nice village and absolutely has it's charm.

Generally speaking, you can't go wrong in the Upper Engadin www.engadin.stmoritz.ch - those are all small villages and each of them has it's own character and charm. Have a look at …stmoritz.ch/winter/… for a short definition of each of them.

As for comfort of transportation, it is certainly the transportation hub St. Moritz - and during this time of year it's not busy at all and the glitz and glamour starts later into the season. However you would find the most open hotels, restaurants and services during off-season. Another option would be Samedan, always a great place during shoulder-season, as this is the administrative area for the Upper Engadin and thus there are more people living and working there year-round, so it is not so much season-dependent and more lively during this period with also more services open. And then, the area is not that big, distances from one place to the other are not big as you may be used in Australia. The Upper Engadin is more like a larger city elsewhere just with villages instead of the quarters and suburbs.

Sils-Maria is a wonderful place with it's own vibe, a philosophers place, but really very calm during off- and shoulder season. And so will be the whole lower Engadin, even more so than the upper Engadin. The hotels tend to open later in the lower Engadin, most of them even after the Holiday Season.

You will find winter hikes already prepared. See more about this here : …stmoritz.ch/winter/…

Some of the mountain cablecars in the upper Engadin are open in early December, a list is here: …stmoritz.ch/winter/… - so if you plan to use them, it would eventually make sense to choose a hotel offering you the pass for CHF 25.00 with two or more night's stay, even if you dont ski, as you would safe money anyway. For details: …stmoritz.ch/winter/en/skipass-inclusive/ - with seven nights, there is also a winter special for the holiday apartments, details see: …stmoritz.ch/winter/en/pauschalenliste/

To select your accomodation, both hotel and rental apartments, your best option would be the booking platform of the official tourism organization www.engadin.stmoritz.ch - top right-hand side.

It is true that buses are less frequent during shoulder-season, you find all the timetables here: engadinbus.ch/UebersichtsFahrplaene.php - for Sils-Maria you would want to look at lines 2 and 4. At the moment there are however only the summer timetables online. But you could check timetables already now for December on www.sbb.ch - there are departures to either St. Moritz Dorf (the center) or St. Moritz Bahnhof (train station) with either line 4 or line 2 respectively and during this period they run one an hour each, so it makes half an hour approximately if you have a look at both of them and do not limit your search on one stop only.

If you are still in the area, on December 14/15 there will be a FIS Ladie's Ski World Cup in St. Moritz - see http://www.skiworldcup.stmoritz.ch/

Colorado
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4. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

Thank you so much Engadiner - you've been a great help. I'll take a look at all the links you've posted. It sounds as if Pontresina may still be an option after all.

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5. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

You're welcome. Pontresina sure is an option, but as for transport convenience as well as for lively village during shoulder season, I personally would prefer Samedan during this period. This is the second-last stop before St. Moritz, where the train line ends, and is well connected with buses in every direction. If you look for a rental apartment, there are some very cozy ones in the traditional, well conserved village center in the old restaurated typical houses. As for hotels, this depends on your budget. There is e.g. the Terminus right at the train station (no worries, it's not that much of train traffic there) which for the last years had a public transport pass included during the winter season similar to the complimentary pass in summer-- perhaps they will do so for the coming winter. Or the Garni Laager, which is in the building of a bakery shop, which has nice apartments and is centrally located with a beautiful view and just across from the bus stop and 5 minutes (uphill) from the train station.

Just write if you have more questions and enjoy your planning.

Colorado
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6. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

Will do Engadiner and thank you again. I'll post back as more questions come up or once we form a plan.

Cheers.

Germany
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7. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

As for the buses - I went to www.sbb.ch and checked a weekday in November, which is even lower season. Runs twice an hour from Sils-Maria, posta to St. Moritz.

Colorado
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8. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

Thanks for that eagle2002.

Engadiner - the Laagers Hotel Garni looks perfect! We'd planned on buying the half fare card, but are now wondering if the 25 CHF option from the hotel would suffice for all transport in the Engadine? From what I understand Corvatsch , Suvretta-Randolins, St Mortiz-Chantarella-Corviglia and St Mortiz Bad-Signal will be open in the Upper Engadine and the cable car Maguns will be open in the Lower. I assume the hotel's offer would be good for those plus the bus and the Rhaetian Railway?

We will arrive Zurich, so will need train tickets from there to the Engadine, and then we'll head to Lauterbrunnen for a few days, and then on to Germany and back to Zurich (maybe).

I need to crunch some numbers, see what works best.

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9. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

The 25.00 pass is limited to the Upper Engadin. See the zone in the details here: …stmoritz.ch/winter/en/skipass-inclusive/ The Lower Engadin is not included, the pass validity ends in Chinuos-chel/Brail down-valley and Maloja up-valley.

You will need to do the maths. I am not aware of all the tourist passes, as being a resident I can not buy them. Make the calculation, with more journeys to do (Lauterbrunnen(, there might be a better option than the CHF 25.00/day plus the transfer ticket. Just be aware that the half-fare pass is not valid on some of the mountain cable cars in the Engadin. For all the passes see http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/home.html

Colorado
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10. Re: Best two bases for five nights each - Engadine Winter

Cheers Engadiner, I'll do the math.

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